Sunday, May 7, 2017

House-Sized Asteroid to Fly Past Earth on Monday


A house-sized asteroid, designated 2017 HX4, will safely miss our planet on Monday, May 8. The space rock, estimated to be 17-38 meters in diameter, is expected to fly by Earth at a distance of approximately 3.69 lunar distances (LD), or 1.42 million kilometers.

2017 HX4 was discovered on Apr. 27, 2017, using the Pan-STARRS 1 (PS1) telescope at the summit of Haleakala on the Hawaiian island of Maui. The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) is an astronomical survey consisting of astronomical cameras, telescopes and a computing facility, surveying the sky for moving objects on a continual basis.

Astronomers reveal that 2017 HX4 has an absolute magnitude of 18.1. The asteroid will fly by Earth at exactly 11:58 UTC, with a velocity of about 12 km/s. Some eight hours earlier, this near-Earth object (NEO) will miss the moon at a distance of approximately 3.55 LD (1.36 million kilometers).

2017 HX4’s pass on Monday will be the second close approach to our planet in May. On Tuesday, May 2, a small asteroid, named 2017 JA, passed by Earth at a distance of 0.3 LD (115,200 kilometers). This space rock is estimated to be about six meters in diameter.

On May 7, there were 1,801 Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) detected and none of them is on a collision course with our planet. PHAs are asteroids larger than 100 meters that can come closer to Earth than 19.5 LD.

3 comments:

  1. It's interesting to know that NASA sent the X-37B to observe the galaxy for PHA during the last two years.

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